The Pirates are the other dominant power in the world of the Antelope Books (again, like the Ninjas, "pirate" is the name of the culture, not the profession). Their capital is the city of Ronin; the second-largest city is Osiris.
In many ways, the pirate culture best resembles the Victorian era. They focus on refined sensibilities, romanticism, and flexible social morals. For the most part, they have a higher level of technology than the ninjas, even possessing some mastery of electricity (by which the pirates designed communication between the two capitol cities). The Pirate ethos is very simple: namely, to incessantly seek the advantage, over others, of one's own group (whether family, crew, political club, or circle of allies); to be outwardly a model of courtesy and deportment; and to be ruthless and treacherous in dealings with other groups of the same kind, and never to get caught in the act. This ideology applies to the Pirate v. Ninja feud, as well.
Unlike the ninjas, who only maintain a rough millitia, the pirates have a large, well-organized standing army, called the Armada. The military dominates every aspect of pirate culture; while service is not mandatory, a boy is not considered a man until he has served in the Armada.
The Armada is used in both defense and offense, in organized raids and planned attacks against ninja strongholds. Private raiders are fully legal, and often join the Armada in large-scale operations.
Only at the highest levels of government is there any distinction between military commanders. In the lower levels, the local mayor is also in command of the local garrison and commands the services of any Armada ships in his area. However, because civilians can be freely elected to these positions, this creates the dubious problem of having civilians in command of military forces.
The Armada itself consists of a massive fleet of ships, all built to similar specifications. The crews of official Armada ships are trained according to a system of well-established manuals and procedures. The officers all come from a single academy.
Men and women are largely treated as equals in pirate culture. It is just as common to find female captains in both the civilian and military world as any other. Many high-ranking government positions are held by women. That being said, the down-and-dirty "piracy"-aspect of pirate culture is still a male-dominated field.
In pirate high-society, is a great deal of emphasis on what is "polite" or proper etiquette. On shore, women wear dresses, and men must wear hats.
The pirate religion is more or less zany. While they claim to practice a single, uniform faith, there is no standardized doctrine. Hundreds of completely contradictory religious texts exist, with more printed every year. Books written about religion eventually become religious texts; new books are added; and so on. The few universal tenets of the pirate religion are charity and piety, though to whom one must be pious is a matter of much debate.
Different areas practice a gamut from monotheistic to polytheistic to strange bastardizations of the two. Most practitioners really only follow out of custom and tradition, with no real deep-seated belief.